Precision Insecticide Application Uses Chemigation to Catch up to the Bugs

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Chemigation makes inaccurate insecticide application a thing of the past.

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Getting accuracy with those pumps was really hard. You’d end up with inaccurate applications. Up until recently I never found one I could use.

If you say “rootworm beetle” to the average person, they’ll most likely give you a blank stare. But to a farmer, especially one who grows corn, the look will be at the least troubled, and at the most horror. The beetle’s worm-like larva (known as rootworm) hatches in plant roots and unchecked causes severe damage. It’s one of corn’s worst enemies along with other pests such as the spider tick, and insecticide is its only control. Chemigation technology now allows that control like never before.

Getting insecticides precisely applied has always been a problem, both for environmental and economical reasons. As is now widely known, broadly applied pesticides can bring harm to many other forms of life in the environment, including humans. And the hiring of a crop-dusting plane several times a season doesn’t come cheap and is a gamble with the effectiveness of dearly bought chemicals.

There is a third problem also, and that is of getting insecticides applied right where they are needed. In the rootworm example, the only way to truly handle the problem is to utilize insecticide applicators to get the insecticide down into the plant roots themselves. Says Tom Struckman, a farmer from Brule, Nebraska, “To get insecticide down to the roots from an airplane is kind of hit-or-miss.”

In the last several decades, chemigation--a process in which insecticide is applied through an existing drip-irrigation system--has been developed to apply insecticide more exactly. But pumping systems would wear out quickly from pump machinery coming in contact with harsh chemicals, and precise flow-control seemed all but impossible. Explains Struckman, “Getting accuracy with those pumps was really hard. You’d end up with inaccurate applications. Up until recently I never found one I could use.”

Like a growing number of farmers, Struckman has now discovered a unit called the Insectigator III, a system manufactured by Agri-Inject, Incorporated. “What I like about them is that they’ll handle much smaller volumes of chemical and be really accurate over the system. These have a maximum of 1.9 gallons per hour. With other pumping systems, you’d have to work hard to get them down to 5 or 6 gallons an hour, and their accuracy really goes down.”

The combination of precise accuracy and running the chemicals through the irrigation system not only allows for economy, it allows for better coverage. Says Struckman, “Before, I don’t think you could get the coverage you can now. Running it accurately through your irrigation system will really deliver it to the pests.”

These systems also last much longer as none of their working parts come in contact with the chemicals. The Insectigator III’s Milton Roy pump system utilizes Teflon diaphragms to keep chemicals completely separate.

Struckman also rents and sells these units to other farmers. Because they are light and easy to use, he installs them as part of his service. “They’re very easy to handle,” he says. “The Insectigator is very easy to throw on the back of a truck, take out and install.”

Precise insecticide application through chemigation such as that available from the Insectigator III benefits the farmer by applying chemicals exactly where they are needed for maximum effect, minimum waste, and minimum harm to the environment.

For more information about this article or chemigation and fertigation systems, call Arnold Page at Agri-Inject at 1-800-446-5328, 5500 East Highway 34, Yuma, Colorado 80759 or Email: inject@plains.net or visit their website at http://www.agri-inject.com to locate a dealer near you.

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